Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Coastal and Tropical South

November, 2009
Regional Report

Tool or Gardening Product

Garden Rocker Seat
I had heard that this tool existed, but when I saw one on a friend's garden path, I knew I had to have one. Ergonomically designed to reduce knee stress (my issue) and back strain (everyone's concern) the seat is actually comfortable. The rocker offers a full range of motion to sit, kneel, and even lean a bit without falling over. The height adjusts by several inches to accommodate even my long legs. The saddlebag pockets are great, too.

Clever Gardening Technique

Sweet, Sentimental Topiaries
Hydrangeas get positively elegant when you dress them up for the holidays. Hydrangeas hold their flowers into the fall, so they are an obvious, and obviously beautiful, choice. Gather a few simple items together and create stunning topiaries for the foyer or a sideboard. One on each side of a fruit and magnolia centerpiece will make your buffet table the talk of the town. For each topiary, you'll need: 1) small clay pot (4 to 5 inches is plenty) and paint or wrapping paper to cover it; 2) wire-edged ribbon (2 inches wide, 2 feet long); 3) Styrofoam chunks (purchase a square and cut into smaller blocks or wedges); 4) one large or two smaller hydrangea flowers with stems; 5) slim bamboo stakes and floral wire (unless your stems are very stiff); 6) a handful of sphagnum moss. Hydrangeas usually dry with pale versions of their original colors intact, and by choosing complementary colors for the pot and ribbon, you can bring out the muted tones. Or grab a can of spray gold gilt and touch them up or spray them completely. Then use gold, red, or green for the accent colors. Once they're ready, wire the stems to their stakes and set them aside. Decorate the pot and fill it with tightly fitting foam chunks. Stick the stakes into the center piece of foam, cover the top of the pot with sphagnum moss and tie the ribbon around the stakes just below the flower heads. Voila -- fast, cheap, classy, and simply southern!


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